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  • March 20, 1942

    [Message to Wasp, dated March 20, from Headquarters, Marine Corps, ]

    YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MODIFY ORDERS CAPT R R VAN STOCKUM TO DETACH HIM PRIOR TO REPORTING HIS RELIEF CAPT BUTTERFIELD PROVIDED YOU SO DESIRE

    [I had written across this message in long hand “So near and yet so far.”]

    March 22, 1942

  • A Reminder: I have included only significant quotations from my journals and these appear in plain text. My current comments and explanations are in bold type between brackets.

    Create a nuisance by attempting escape

    January 22, 1942

    The item attached is rather amusing to me. I can see myself in a German prison camp with a guard to every hundred yards of barb wire fence, attempting to escape in order to create a nuisance.

    [Here I pasted an item apparently clipped from the Wasp’s Plan of the Day:

  • December 8, 1941 (Continued)

  • Editor’s note: This column was originally published on May 1, 2009, and is being republished because of the recent death of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

    General David M. Shoup, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, a friend of mine, had more serious challenges to face in 1962. Before that year was out, a crisis of the greatest magnitude had developed.

    Soviet missile bases in Cuba

  • “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL HOSTILITIES WITH JAPAN COMMENCED WITH AIR RAID ON PEARL” – ALNAV (Naval Message sent to all U S. Navy ships and stations)

    Sept 23, 1941

  • July 24, 1941

    This morning we have been taking on Army pursuit planes (P-40). My guess is that we will transport them to within flying distance of Iceland, head into the wind, launch them with their own pilots, and then turn around and run back to the States.

    July 28, 1941

    Fire at any Periscope Sighted

  • April 28, 1941

    At sea – two days East of Norfolk. Today at Tactical school Capt. Reeves [Wasp’s Commanding Officer] told us our mission, the first word we have had of our destination. We are to patrol the area between Bermuda and the Azores from latitude twenty to forty, taking a triangular course lasting fourteen days and then spending five days in Bermuda – and then doing the same thing all over again. We are to scout with our planes and report any German warships or suspected raiders in the area.

  • With the anticipation of costumes, parties, tricks and treats building in their hearts, kids across the nation are counting down the days until Halloween on Monday.  But kids – and kids at heart – in Shelby County don’t have to wait another five days for the fun to start.  Some Halloween related activities and events have already kicked off the holiday in the region and many are offered tonight and throughout the week leading up to the grand finale of Trick-or-Treating across the county on October 31.

  • Two Shelby County men are still reflecting upon a week they spent in Alaska last month – not on vacation, but as part of a volunteer effort to build a church there.

    This was the third time that Bob Walters and Bob Perkins have participated in a project with Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world.

    The experience was much more than just helping to construct a building and parsonage for the Moravian Church in Togiak, Alaska, they both agreed.

  • March 12, 1941

  • Norma Bailey is celebrating more than her birthday today – she’s celebrating life. 

    Two years after having a double mastectomy, she has bounced back stronger than ever, but says she couldn’t have done it without her awesome support system of her husband and six kids, four of which are adopted.  She knew something was wrong in the spring of 2014, she said, when she felt a burning pain in her chest that wouldn’t go away, and when she went to have it checked out, she got the news that every women fear: breast cancer. 

  • September 17, 1939

  • My last column constituted a diversion from the series based on my Marine Corps Journals. It described the harrowing experiences endured by a young marine who was crammed with other prisoners of war in the hold of a Japanese freighter. Despite this unimaginable stress, he survived and possessed the strength of character to live a full and productive life.

    Now I return to the routine barracks life in the Marine Corps in 1939, on the cusp of World War II.

  • Prison Interlude

    Alton Halbrook, a Marine enlisted man from Texas, reported to the Marine Barracks to serve in Artillery at about the about the same time in 1939 that I arrived to serve in the Infantry. In 1940, he was sent to Shanghai where he joined the 4th Marine Regiment, and later to the Philippines, where, in May 1942 he was one of thousands of prisoners interned by the Japanese.

  • March 4, 1939

  • As Louisiana fights through the worst floods it’s seen since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, those providing supplies and help to dry the state out are lining up.

    But one group in Shelby County is still helping from the last catastrophic flooding through that region.

    Displaced by Hurricane Katrina when the storm devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, Taffy is still waiting patiently at the Shelby County Humane Society for a new family – her eyes a warm brown, her tail wagging hopefully every time a family walks by her kennel.

  • September 26, 1938

    War Seems Inevitable

    And now for a little timely news. Hitler’s attempts to take over Sudeten German part of Czechoslovakia have resulted in European unrest, unequaled since the war. If Hitler is appeased now, he will no doubt want more later. I am sure only memories of the last war have saved Europe from another war at the present time.1938

  • Aug 24, 1938

    Since this has been a typical example of a long but not strenuous day, I shall give a résumé of it.

    0340 Awakened

    0350 Relieved watch as JOOD [Junior Officer of the Deck]

    0750 Relieved from watch after having paced some miles on the quarterdeck.

  • Personal Note: When my first column appeared in The Sentinel-News on April 27, 2007, I had no expectation that nearly ten years later, at the age of 100, I would be writing my 183rd column.

    June 27, 1938

    [At Secondary Battery Gunnery School on board USS Nevada (a 2-month course) and having spent only a weekend aboard USS Tennessee, I took a boat on June 20, 1938 to the USS Nevada another battleship, to attend the two-month Secondary Battery Gunnery School. Here I joined a number of ensigns and 2nd lieutenants, new to the Fleet.

  • Tribute to the U. S. Navy

    Eternal Father, strong to save,


    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

    Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep

    Its own appointed limits keep;

    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,


    For those in peril on the sea!

    --The “Navy Hymn” sung at the U.S. Naval Academy

    As I reach the date in my Journal that records my reporting aboard the Battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43), it seems appropriate to pay Tribute to the U.S. Navy.